Takada High School is one of Mie prefecture’s most prestigious private high schools, and is considered by many to be the best high school in the prefecture. Mie has 77 high schools (November, 2015), 58 of them public, and private high schools make up the other 19. A trained and registered teacher in Australia (Bachelor of Teaching, Bachelor of Education), and with 20 years experience in Japan, I was honoured to be offered a job at Takada High School, starting April 2016. Hence I decided to do some research about my new work place.
The 144 year old school currently has approximately 2,400 students enrolled in its junior high school and (senior) high school. The school campus itself consists of the main building (administration, staff rooms, assembly hall), five wings in which the classrooms, library, audio visual rooms, various science and technology laboratories, study halls, a school shop, and numerous multipurpose rooms are located, and two gymnasium halls. In addition to this, there is an astronomical observatory, planetarium, tea room, and a Buddhist chapel. (The Buddhist chapel exists within the school complex and is not to be confused with Senjuji Buddhist Temple that exists next to the school.)
The school places emphasis on its English, Mathematics and Japanese language programs, but naturally teaches a wide range of standard subjects such as science, history, geography, economics, art, P.E. (Physical education), home economics, and so forth.
There are a large number of sporting clubs offered as well, including baseball, softball, tennis, table tennis, judo, kendo, soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball, badminton, track and field, swimming, and even horse riding. As an Australian, I was fascinated to discover that they also had a cricket club - very rare in Japan!
If students are not into sports, then there are other ‘cultural clubs’ to choose from such as English club of course, art, brass band, choir, ‘home making’, astronomy, “ikebana” (flower arrangement), “igo” (a traditional board game), shogi (Japanese chess), drama, tea ceremony, calligraphy, koto (traditional stringed instrument), broadcasting (journalism), photography, and animation, not to mention academic clubs such as science, maths and history.
Takada High School has two sister high schools in Melbourne, Australia, and each year in March, Japanese students can opt to travel to Australia on an exchange program (study tour) for a couple of weeks. Australian students also visit Takada High School at some stage during the year for a home stay and Japanese study tour.